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    Chapter 2

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    Chapter 3
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    State of the Roman empire under Zeno--Theodoric king of the
    Ostrogoths--Character of Theodoric--Changes in the Roman empire--
    New languages--New names--Theodoric dies--Belisarius in Italy--
    Totila takes Rome--Narses destroys the Goths--New form of
    Government in Italy--Narses invites the Lombards into Italy--The
    Lombards change the form of government.

    At this time the ancient Roman empire was governed by the following
    princes: Zeno, reigning in Constantinople, commanded the whole of the
    eastern empire; the Ostrogoths ruled Mesia and Pannonia; the
    Visigoths, Suavi, and Alans, held Gascony and Spain; the Vandals,
    Africa; the Franks and Burgundians, France; and the Eruli and Turingi,
    Italy. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths had descended to Theodoric,
    nephew of Velamir, who, being on terms of friendship with Zeno the
    eastern emperor, wrote to him that his Ostrogoths thought it an
    injustice that they, being superior in valor to the people thereabout,
    should be inferior to them in dominion, and that it was impossible for
    him to restrain them within the limits of Pannonia. So, seeing himself
    under the necessity of allowing them to take arms and go in search of
    new abodes, he wished first to acquaint Zeno with it, in order that he
    might provide for them, by granting some country in which they might
    establish themselves, by his good favor with greater propriety and
    convenience. Zeno, partly from fear and partly from a desire to drive
    Odoacer out of Italy, gave Theodoric permission to lead his people
    against him, and take possession of the country. Leaving his friends
    the Zepidi in Pannonia, Theodoric marched into Italy, slew Odoacer and
    his son, and, moved by the same reasons which had induced Valentinian
    to do so, established his court at Ravenna, and like Odoacer took the
    title of king of Italy.

    Theodoric possessed great talents both for war and peace; in the
    former he was always conqueror, and in the latter he conferred very
    great benefits upon the cities and people under him. He distributed
    the Ostrogoths over the country, each district under its leader, that
    he might more conveniently command them in war, and govern them in
    peace. He enlarged Ravenna, restored Rome, and, with the exception of
    military discipline, conferred upon the Romans every honor. He kept
    within their proper bounds, wholly by the influence of his character,
    all the barbarian kings who occupied the empire; he built towns and
    fortresses between the point of the Adriatic and the Alps, in order,
    with the greater facility, to impede the passage of any new hordes of
    barbarians who might design to assail Italy; and if, toward the latter
    end of his life, so many virtues had not been sullied by acts of
    cruelty, caused by various jealousies of his people, such as the death
    of Symmachus and Boethius, men of great holiness, every point of his
    character would have deserved the highest praise. By his virtue and
    goodness, not only Rome and Italy, but every part of the western
    empire, freed from the continual troubles which they had suffered from
    the frequent influx of barbarians, acquired new vigor, and began to
    live in an orderly and civilized manner. For surely if any times were
    truly miserable for Italy and the provinces overrun by the barbarians,
    they were those which occurred from Arcadius and Honorius to
    Theodoric. If we only consider the evils which arise to a republic or
    a kingdom by a change of prince or of government; not by foreign
    interference, but by civil discord (in which we may see how even
    slight variations suffice to ruin the most powerful kingdoms or
    states), we may then easily imagine how much Italy and the other Roman
    provinces suffered, when they not only changed their forms of
    government and their princes, but also their laws, customs, modes of
    living, religion, language, and name. Any one of such changes, by
    itself, without being united with others, might, with thinking of it,
    to say nothing of the seeing and suffering, infuse terror into the
    strongest minds.

    From these causes proceeded the ruin as well as the origin and
    extension of many cities. Among those which were ruined were Aquileia,
    Luni, Chiusi, Popolonia, Fiesole, and many others. The new cities were
    Venice, Sienna, Ferrara, Aquila, with many towns and castles which for
    brevity we omit. Those which became extended were Florence, Genoa,
    Pisa, Milan, Naples, and Bologna; to all of which may be added, the
    ruin and restoration of Rome, and of many other cities not previously

    From this devastation and new population arose new languages, as we
    see in the different dialects of France, Spain and Italy; which,
    partaking of the native idiom of the new people and of the old Roman,
    formed a new manner of discourse. Besides, not only were the names of
    provinces changed, but also of lakes, rivers, seas, and men; for
    France, Spain, and Italy are full of fresh names, wholly different
    from the ancient; as, omitting many others, we see that the Po, the
    Garda, the Archipelago, are names quite different from those which the
    ancients used; while instead of Cæsar and Pompey we have Peter,
    Matthew, John, etc.

    Among so many variations, that of religion was not of little
    importance; for, while combating the customs of the ancient faith with
    the miracles of the new, very serious troubles and discords were
    created among men. And if the Christians had been united in one faith,
    fewer disorders would have followed; but the contentions among
    themselves, of the churches of Rome, Greece, and Ravenna, joined to
    those of the heretic sects with the Catholics, served in many ways to
    render the world miserable. Africa is a proof of this; having suffered
    more horrors from the Arian sect, whose doctrines were believed by the
    Vandals, than from any avarice or natural cruelty of the people
    themselves. Living amid so many persecutions, the countenances of men
    bore witness of the terrible impressions upon their minds; for besides
    the evils they suffered from the disordered state of the world, they
    scarcely could have recourse to the help of God, in whom the unhappy
    hope for relief; for the greater part of them, being uncertain what
    divinity they ought to address, died miserably, without help and
    without hope.

    Having been the first who put a stop to so many evils, Theodoric
    deserves the highest praise: for during the thirty-eight years he
    reigned in Italy, he brought the country to such a state of greatness
    that her previous sufferings were no longer recognizable. But at his
    death, the kingdom descending to Atalaric, son of Amalasontha, his
    daughter, and the malice of fortune not being yet exhausted, the old
    evils soon returned; for Atalaric died soon after his grandfather, and
    the kingdom coming into the possession of his mother, she was betrayed
    by Theodatus, whom she had called to assist her in the government. He
    put her to death and made himself king; and having thus become odious
    to the Ostrogoths, the emperor Justinian entertained the hope of
    driving him out of Italy. Justinian appointed Belisarius to the
    command of this expedition, as he had already conquered Africa,
    expelled the Vandals, and reduced the country to the imperial rule.

    Belisarius took possession of Sicily, and from thence passing into
    Italy, occupied Naples and Rome. The Goths, seeing this, slew
    Theodatus their king, whom they considered the cause of their
    misfortune, and elected Vitiges in his stead, who, after some
    skirmishes, was besieged and taken by Belisarius at Ravenna; but
    before he had time to secure the advantages of his victory, Belisarius
    was recalled by Justinian, and Joannes and Vitalis were appointed in
    his place. Their principles and practices were so different from those
    of Belisarius, that the Goths took courage and created Ildovadus,
    governor of Verona, their king. After Ildovadus, who was slain, came
    Totila, who routed the imperial forces, took Tuscany and Naples, and
    recovered nearly the whole of what Belisarius had taken from them. On
    this account Justinian determined to send him into Italy again; but,
    coming with only a small force, he lost the reputation which his
    former victories had won for him, in less time than he had taken to
    acquire it. Totila being at Ostia with his forces, took Rome before
    his eyes; but being unable to hold or to leave the city, he destroyed
    the greater part of it, drove out the citizens, and took the senators
    away from him. Thinking little of Belisarius, he led his people into
    Calabria, to attack the forces which had been sent from Greece.

    Belisarius, seeing the city abandoned, turned his mind to the
    performance of an honourable work. Viewing the ruins of Rome, he
    determined to rebuild her walls and recall her inhabitants with as
    little delay as possible. But fortune was opposed to this laudable
    enterprise; for Justinian, being at this time assailed by the
    Parthians, recalled him; and his duty to his sovereign compelled him
    to abandon Italy to Totila, who again took Rome, but did not treat her
    with such severity as upon the former occasion; for at the entreaty of
    St. Benedict, who in those days had great reputation for sanctity, he
    endeavored to restore her. In the meantime, Justinian having arranged
    matters with the Parthians, again thought of sending a force to the
    relief of Italy; but the Sclavi, another northern people, having
    crossed the Danube and attacked Illyria and Thrace, prevented him, so
    that Totila held almost the whole country. Having conquered the
    Slavonians, Justinian sent Narses, a eunuch, a man of great military
    talent, who, having arrived in Italy, routed and slew Totila. The
    Goths who escaped sought refuge in Pavia, where they created Teias
    their king. On the other hand, Narses after the victory took Rome, and
    coming to an engagement with Teias near Nocera, slew him and routed
    his army. By this victory, the power of the Goths in Italy was quite
    annihilated, after having existed for seventy years, from the coming
    of Theodoric to the death of Teias.

    No sooner was Italy delivered from the Goths than Justinian died, and
    was succeeded by Justin, his son, who, at the instigation of Sophia,
    his wife, recalled Narses, and sent Longinus in his stead. Like those
    who preceded him, he made his abode at Ravenna, and besides this, gave
    a new form to the government of Italy; for he did not appoint
    governors of provinces, as the Goths had done, but in every city and
    town of importance placed a ruler whom he called a duke. Neither in
    this arrangement did he respect Rome more than the other cities; for
    having set aside the consuls and senate, names which up to this time
    had been preserved, he placed her under a duke, who was sent every
    year from Ravenna, and called her the duchy of Rome; while to him who
    remained in Ravenna, and governed the whole of Italy for the emperor,
    was given the name of Exarch. This division of the country greatly
    facilitated the ruin of Italy, and gave the Lombards an early occasion
    of occupying it. Narses was greatly enraged with the emperor, for
    having recalled him from the government of the province, which he had
    won with his own valor and blood; while Sophia, not content with the
    injury done by withdrawing him, treated him in the most offensive
    manner, saying she wished him to come back that he might spin with the
    other eunuchs. Full of indignation, Narses persuaded Alboin, king of
    the Lombards, who then reigned in Pannonia, to invade and take
    possession of Italy.

    The Lombards, as was said before, occupied those places upon the
    Danube which had been vacated by the Eruli and Turingi, when Odoacer
    their king led them into Italy; where, having been established for
    some time, their dominions were held by Alboin, a man ferocious and
    bold, under whom they crossed the Danube, and coming to an engagement
    with Cunimund, king of the Zepidi, who held Pannonia, conquered and
    slew him. Alboin finding Rosamond, daughter of Cunimund, among the
    captives, took her to wife, and made himself sovereign of Pannonia;
    and, moved by his savage nature, caused the skull of Cunimund to be
    formed into a cup, from which, in memory of the victory, he drank.
    Being invited into Italy by Narses, with whom he had been in
    friendship during the war with the Goths, he left Pannonia to the
    Huns, who after the death of Attila had returned to their country.
    Finding, on his arrival, the province divided into so many parts, he
    presently occupied Pavia, Milan, Verona, Vicenza, the whole of
    Tuscany, and the greater part of Flamminia, which is now called
    Romagna. These great and rapid acquisitions made him think the
    conquest of Italy already secured; he therefore gave a great feast at
    Verona, and having become elevated with wine, ordered the skull of
    Cunimund to be filled, and caused it to be presented to the queen
    Rosamond, who sat opposite, saying loud enough for her to hear, that
    upon occasion of such great joy she should drink with her father.
    These words were like a dagger to the lady's bosom and she resolved to
    have revenge. Knowing that Helmichis, a noble Lombard, was in love
    with one of her maids, she arranged with the young woman, that
    Helmichis, without being acquainted with the fact, should sleep with
    her instead of his mistress. Having effected her design, Rosamond
    discovered herself to Helmichis, and gave him the choice either of
    killing Alboin, and taking herself and the kingdom as his reward, or
    of being put to death as the ravisher of the queen. Helmichis
    consented to destroy Alboin; but after the murder, finding they could
    not occupy the kingdom, and fearful that the Lombards would put them
    to death for the love they bore to Alboin, they seized the royal
    treasure, and fled with it to Longinus, at Ravenna, who received them

    During these troubles the emperor Justinus died, and was succeeded by
    Tiberius, who, occupied in the wars with the Parthians, could not
    attend to the affairs of Italy; and this seeming to Longinus to
    present an opportunity, by means of Rosamond and her wealth, of
    becoming king of the Lombards and of the whole of Italy, he
    communicated his design to her, persuaded her to destroy Helmichis,
    and so take him for her husband. To this end, having prepared poisoned
    wine, she with her own hand presented it to Helmichis, who complained
    of thirst as he came from the bath. Having drunk half of it, he
    suspected the truth, from the unusual sensation it occasioned and
    compelled her to drink the remainder; so that in a few hours both came
    to their end, and Longinus was deprived of the hope of becoming king.

    In the meantime the Lombards, having drawn themselves together in
    Pavia, which was become the principal seat of their empire, made
    Clefis their king. He rebuilt Imola, destroyed by Narses, and occupied
    Remini and almost every place up to Rome; but he died in the course of
    his victories. Clefis was cruel to such a degree, not only toward
    strangers, but to his own Lombards, that these people, sickened of
    royal power, did not create another king, but appointed among
    themselves thirty dukes to govern the rest. This prevented the
    Lombards from occupying the whole of Italy, or of extending their
    dominion further than Benevento; for, of the cities of Rome, Ravenna,
    Cremona, Mantua, Padua, Monselice, Parma, Bologna, Faenza, Forli, and
    Cesena, some defended themselves for a time, and others never fell
    under their dominion; since, not having a king, they became less
    prompt for war, and when they afterward appointed one, they were, by
    living in freedom, become less obedient, and more apt to quarrel among
    themselves; which from the first prevented a fortunate issue of their
    military expeditions, and was the ultimate cause of their being driven
    out of Italy. The affairs of the Lombards being in the state just
    described, the Romans and Longinus came to an agreement with them,
    that each should lay down their arms and enjoy what they already
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